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Another Grand Coalition Takes Shape in Berlin

It Will Be Good for Europe But Bad for Germany

Acting German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Social Democratic Party (SPD) leader Martin Schulz attend a news conference after exploratory talks about forming a new coalition government at the SPD headquarters in Berlin, Germany, January 12, 2018. Hannibal Hanschke / Reuters

More of the same is not what Germans voted for in last September’s parliamentary elections, but it is what they will get now that the Social Democrats (SPD) have grudgingly agreed to proceed with formal negotiations for a grand coalition government with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU). After contentious internal battles, SPD delegates narrowly voted, at a party convention on Sunday, to give their leadership the license to serve for a third time as a junior partner to Merkel’s conservative party. Their decision is based on a 28-page joint-position paper that the two parties had hashed out earlier in Berlin. 

Given the collapse of government coalition talks in November, the willingness of the SPD to enter formal coalition talks with the CDU has thrown Merkel a political lifeline. She will enter her fourth term in office, most likely by Easter, and by then the ink on

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